Jason Khalipa is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to CrossFit. In 2008, just two years after being introduced to the sport, Khalipa won first place — along with the coveted “Fittest Man on Earth” title — at the CrossFit Games. And while that is the greatest accomplishment for a CrossFitter, his 2009 comeback may be even more impressive.
The North California-native struggled through the first event, a 7.1-mile run on varied terrain, finishing 72nd out of 74 competitors, and not before falling along the course multiple times. He received medical attention as soon as the race was done, but Khalipa wasn’t willing to give up. He went on to win the next event, a deadlift competition, and then placed 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, and 5th in the following events respectively. Khalipa ended up with an overall 5th place finish for the Games and received the “Spirit of the Games” award for his valiant and inspirational effort.
Five years later, the 28-year-old was named to Team USA CrossFit where he and fellow American CrossFitters, like Rich Froning and Lindsey Valenzuela, compete against Team World at the Reebok CrossFit Invitational. If that’s not enough CrossFit for one man, Khalipa also owns NorCal CrossFit with six locations and is a CrossFit coach himself.
And he’s still got it! Khalipa was crowned 3rd Fittest Man on Earth at this year’s 2014 CrossFit Games on July 27th, behind rookie Matthew Fraser who took second and reigning champion Froning. We caught up with the fierce competitor and Gillette BODY Ambassador to hear what he believes to be his hardest workout ever. (How can he pick just one?)
Set the scene for us.
It was the 2012 CrossFit Games at Camp Pendleton. It was a surprise event announced by Dave Castro [director of the CrossFit Games].
What do you remember about the WOD?
I remember being on a run for a long time. And there was no one around, which made it seem even longer. It was very aggressive and very challenging. I felt miserable. It was a two-hour event and I wanted to quit like an hour in.
What was the hardest part?
The run. It was probably about seven or eight miles, up and down hills.
What was the light at the end of the tunnel for you?
We were on a military base and there were a bunch of Marines around. I thought about how I was doing this for fun. Here I am on a base essentially working out as an event. And these guys are training to go overseas and fight bad guys. I’m complaining and they have to do this type of stuff all the time, and while being shot at. It definitely put the workout in a different perspective for me.
Would you ever do it again?
Yes, if I had the opportunity to, I would do it again. I feel like part of my soul was left on that mountain so I need to go reclaim it. I would just do it for myself.
Most of what we do in CrossFit is all mental. This was a mental and physical grind. Training for two hours in the middle of a mountain, climbing up and down hills — you have to realize why you’re doing it. If you don’t have a good reason to do it, then don’t do it. If you can’t tell yourself why you’re doing it, don’t do it. Otherwise when it gets tough, you will quit.
The CrossFit Workout
Note: This workout was performed by a professional athlete who struggled immensely doing it, and had medical professionals on-site in case of emergency. Perform at your own risk, should you be so daring.
To hear more about Jasons’s CrossFit training, follow him on Twitter, or check out one of his boxes in Northern California.